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Cheney lauds Crows pressure

Katrina Gill  April 10, 2016 10:34 AM

AFL 2016 Rd 03 - Richmond v Adelaide

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 9: Kyle Cheney of the Crows in action during the 2016 AFL Round 03 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Adelaide Crows at the Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on April 9, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

The pressure around the ball was elite.

Kyle Cheney has praised Adelaide’s pressure in the Club’s 36-point win over Richmond.

During the week, coach Don Pyke spoke about the need for his team to tighten up defensively after conceding 70 inside 50ms in last week’s Showdown win.

Pyke would’ve been happier with what he saw at Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The Crows held the Tigers to a more respectable 53 forward 50m entries on the back of fierce pressure. In all, 12.11 (83) of Adelaide’s 19.14 (128) score came from turnovers.

The visiting team’s approach was summed up in a play during the second quarter.

Captain Taylor Walker smothered All Australian defender Alex Rance’s kick deep in defence. Rance regained control of the ball only to be dispossessed by a fast-closing Eddie Betts, setting up an easy goal to Jarryd Lyons.

“The pressure around the ball was elite,” Cheney said after the game.

“We start our ball movement through team defence. If we stop the opposition’s flow, we’re in a position to attack from there. We did that really well today.”

Cheney played one of his best games as a Crow against the Tigers.

On several occasions, the former Hawk was the only thing standing between Richmond and a goal.

Not only was Cheney resolute on the last line, especially when Adelaide was under siege by a fired-up Richmond in the first quarter, but he helped launch his side’s counter attack.

The defender collected a team and equal-game high nine intercept possessions. He finished with a total of 18 possessions at 94.4 per cent efficiency, and also took six marks.

Cheney lauded the cohesiveness of Adelaide’s defensive group, including All Australians Daniel Talia and Brodie Smith, competitive smalls Rory Laird and Luke Brown, and promising talls Jake Lever and Kyle Hartigan.

“We’ve been working really well as a team,” he said.

“The back six or seven down there have been settled the past couple of weeks.

“It’s not so much about individual performance, but as a team we stopped a lot of goals today.”

Smith starred in his 100th AFL game.

The damaging half-back collected 26 possessions at 88.5 per cent efficiency. He generated five inside 50ms, four rebound 50ms and gained more metres (668) than any other player on the ground.

Smith also kicked two trademark long-range goals after receiving passes from teammates.

“We got around him,” Cheney said.

“It wouldn’t be worth celebrating his milestone if he didn’t kick a couple of those goals from 55 metres out.

“That’s what he’s built his career on. It’s outstanding that we got the win for him today, and that he was able to kick a couple of those goals.”

The Crows withstood an early onslaught from the Tigers, who appeared determined to respond to a disappointing last-gasp loss to Collingwood in Round Two.

After conceding the opening goal of the game, Adelaide kicked four of the next five to lead by 13 points at quarter time.

The Crows extended their lead to 25 at the main break, and 47 at three-quarter-time. On two separate occasions, Richmond kicked three unanswered goals to snatch the momentum but a composed Adelaide was able to respond each time.

“It was a good, all-round performance,” Cheney said.

“We had scoreboard pressure early and the game on our terms for the most part.”

The win was Adelaide’s second of the season, and first away from home.

Next up, the undefeated Sydney Swans at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

“We were disappointed to let the first game (against North Melbourne) slip, but to bounce back in the Showdown and then play the way we did today was fantastic.

“It’s important we don’t get caught up too much in the last two weeks though. We look forward to Sydney now and we’re starting to prepare for them as we speak.

“It’ll be good to get back on our home deck and, hopefully, all our fans will come and support us again.”